Washington, DCUSA 20002
February 22, 2013
I'm a 21-year old junior at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
I've been into ultralight backpacking for a few years now and have a great set of gear but unfortunately am not able to get out too much due to time restraints (Naval Academy training takes up my whole summer and shortens most of my weekends). The longest day I've had is just under 30 miles during a 105-mile trip on the AT in Virginia. The coldest I've slept in was 18 degrees, but I wouldn't say that I was warm and comfortable enough to do that again willingly without an investment in a real winter sleeping pad. I just recently replaced my Tarptent Moment with a MLD Trailstar and Yama Mountain Gear Stratiform 1 in order to cut my pack weight some more and enjoy the flexibility that tarps provide. I'm planning on doing the Colorado Trail this summer in 22 days or so, but if that falls through (due to time constraints, again) I'll be doing the JMT.
The last real trip I did was a 3-day hike of the Black Forest Trail in Pennsylvania with a good friend of mine (another UL backpacker at USNA). We went in the middle of November and ended up experiencing colder weather than expected (including lots of snow the last day) but still had a great time. Since then I've done a few short overnighters to test some new equipment -- nothing big, really.
Shelter System: Depending on the weather and group size my shelter system will change. For larger groups where someone will be using my shelter with me, I'll use my MLD Trailstar and a TiGoat Ptarmigan bivy. If I'm travelling alone, I'll just take my Yama Mountain Gear Stratiform 1 tarp with the bivy/groundsheet. I also have a small bug shelter (YMG Bug Shelter 1.0) that fits perfectly under the Stratiform and allows me to go sans bivy and without the tarp if the weather is nice. Sleep System: I have a MLD Spirit 28 quilt (synthetic) as my insulation. Depending on the temperature, I'll use combinations of a GG Nightlight pad, GG Thinlight pad, and an REI Stratus pad to keep warm and off the ground. Pack: For larger loads I have a ULA CDT and an REI Flash 45. For smaller loads I have a GG Murmur (the 2012 version, not the old spinnaker version).
I want to join because it is hard to find other people to go backpacking with at the academy. The friend I usually go with is currently studying abroad and the other just had surgery. By joining this group, I would be able to meet new people and have more access to trips. It would also make logistics easier as it's hard to do any non-loop trail with only one car.
I heard about it on the BPL forums.
I think it's exactly what I was looking for -- an active group of knowledgeable and interesting people that gets out often and does big mileage. Hoping to go out on as many trips as possible this year.